Author Archives: Ada

Knowing When Your Ready To Buy

All across the United States, there are millions of people looking to a buy home – either now or in the future. Over the last few years, lower interest rates have come along, making it more affordable than ever to buy a home. When most people stop and give it some thought – buying a home makes a lot more sense than renting a home or an apartment.

In order to buy a house, you’ll need to start saving your money and have enough for the closing costs and a down payment. Your down payment will normally need to be around 15% of the price or the value of the property – whichever is lower. To be on the safe side, you should always try to have 20% to put down. If you aren’t able to put 20% down, you’ll need to buy some private mortgage insurance, which will cost you more in terms of your monthly payment.

In most cases, the closing costs will run you around 5% of the property price. Before you purchase the home, you should always get an estimate. An estimate won’t be the exact price, although it will be really close. You should always plan to save up a bit more money than you need, just to be on the safe side. It’s always best to have more than enough than not enough.

You’ll know your ready to buy a home when you know exactly how much you can afford, and you’re willing to stick with your plan. When you buy a home and get your monthly mortgage payment, it shouldn’t be any more than 25% of your total monthly income. Although there are lenders out there who will say that you can afford to pay more, you should never let them talk you into doing so – but stick to your budget instead.

Keep in mind that there is always more money involved with a home other than the mortgage payment. You also have to pay for utilities, homeowners insurance, property taxes, and maintenance. Owning and caring for a home requires a lot of responsibility. If you’ve never owned a home before, it can take a bit of time to get used to.

Before you fill out any applications, you should always look over your credit report and check for any errors. Although you may think you don’t, you can easily get an error on your credit report and not even realize it. If you have an error on your credit report, it can cost you a lot of money in interest rates. An error will decrease your credit score, which will put you in a higher interest bracket and ultimately cost you a lot more money in the end. Therefore, you should always know your credit before you approach a lender.

If you check your credit report early enough, you may leave yourself enough time to fix any problems and get your credit back on track. Rebuilding credit can take time though, sometimes even years. You should always plan ahead – and give yourself plenty of time to fix your credit.

Buying a home will require a bit of commitment on your behalf. You should always strive to get the best possible deals, which means knowing your credit and where you stand. This way, you can get the best interest rates. You don’t want to buy a home with bad credit, simply because you’ll pay a lot more money for the home. If you take the time to fix any credit problems and save up some money – you’ll be able to get a much better home for your money.

Common Risks Faced by Property “Flippers”

The first thing that should be noted is that flipping houses is a great way to bring home a rather large profit in a relatively short amount of time when doing so in a seller’s market so to speak. The problem is that we currently seem to be experiencing what is known as a buyer’s market from one end of the United States to another. Foreclosures are at an all time high, which means that the market has suddenly been saturated with properties for sale.

While this is excellent news (believe it or not) when it comes to getting your hands on a property at a lower price, it also makes a difficult time of convincing buyers to pay top dollar when there are better bargains down the road. This of course is one of the primary risks involved in the real estate investment venture that is known as flipping properties. The massive profits that most investors seek cannot be accomplished if the property cannot be purchased, rehabbed, and sold quickly.

Unfortunately, at the moment, very few properties in any city are selling too terribly quickly. The worst case scenario in a situation like this is that you are forced to either absorb the loss (which can in extreme cases result in serious financial hardship or bankruptcy) or rent the property out (which will in most cases negate all the efforts that were made to rehab the property. An inability to sell the property that is being flipped is probably the worst fear of every property investor who engages in this sort of investment. In these cases it is often better to drop the price and take a loss than hold out for a better price risking further losses in the future.

These are not the only risks associated with flipping properties unfortunately. Another risk would be the risk of seriously underestimating the amount of money that will be required in order to do the necessary work. This is something that many first time investors find is a fairly common occurrence. Most people have unrealistic expectations of exactly how far their dollars will go when it comes to investing in the materials and labor needed to properly rehab a property. Even minor cosmetic repairs throughout a house can easily run into several thousands of dollars in order to repair. The flip side is that once these repairs are made the potential profits run into several tens of thousands of dollars.

Another risk that isn’t often considered is the risk of overestimating abilities. This is one risk that costs not only precious time but valuable money as well. Not only is material wasted in the process of discovering you aren’t exactly skilled in any particular tasks but also there are further expenses (often unplanned) involved in hiring the professional to repair the damage and replace the material that was wasted. When in doubt, it is almost always best to hire a professional if at all possible. This also leads to missing deadlines, going seriously off schedule, and adding yet another mortgage payment (if not more than one) to the overall price of the project.

The final risk is often something that simply cannot be seen or anticipated. This was experienced in the days immediately following 9-11 and should not be forgotten. The unforeseen happens every day. Markets crash; local economies can be devastated by the announcement of a major employer that it is going out of business (thinks of the collapse of companies such as Enron and World Comm and what they did to local economies). In these instances, the market will take quite a while to recover from the shock to its system and ‘flippers’ among other investors are often left feeling just as lost and devastated as those that were victimized by these companies-both through no fault of their own.

Stuff happens and those things that we have absolutely no control over are almost always the things that affect us most profoundly. The same holds true when it comes to property investment. The state of the economy, the housing market in an area, and sudden announcements that affect either can often have the most profound impact on those who are investing in property in those areas whether for better or for worse. The trick is in deciding which risks are acceptable.

Selling Real Estate in a Sluggish Market

Real estate is one commodity that many depend upon to get them through the rough times in their investment strategies. The problem is that unlike stocks and bonds, real estate is not the most liquid of assets to turn into cash when the going gets rough and money is needed immediately. This may be the one large drawback when it comes to real estate. You cannot rely solely upon real estate to get you through the financial rough patches, as real estate is a very fickle market.

There is only one way in which real estate can truly be sold in a sluggish market such as the one that is rocking the real estate world at the moment and that is not always a way that is ideal for investors. However by offering an exceptional value to consumers, you can almost always manage to sell real estate. This is by far not the method of choice for investors. Investors are often encouraged to hold onto properties during the rough patches by any means possible (and ethical of course) in order to get the maximum profit they are hoping to achieve in the endeavor. When this is not possible, make sure the property being offered and sold is the best value for the money that is currently on the market.

Play up the attributes of any given property and offer several properties for sell at once (assuming you own more than one). More importantly, offer different types of properties rather than one style of property. If you own a few rentals, a couple of vacation homes, time shares, and perhaps a corporate office building or two put one of each on the market and see which sells more quickly.

Another thing that must be considered in a sluggish market is that you cannot attach an emotional value to the price of the property. This is simply bad business. No matter how much sweat, tears, and blood have gone into the property you must realize that just as it is a business transaction for you, so it is for the person placing the bid. You cannot afford to run off potential bidders by becoming insulting or feeling insulted by their bids. Make a counter offer and see what happens rather than letting emotion rule the day. In a buyer’s market there will be low offers.

There are many who make livings (like most investors are attempting to do) by buying low and selling high. This means they will make an insultingly low offer the first time around to see where the seller stands. This doesn’t mean they are the scum of the earth only that they are in this for the greatest possible profit. Do not take their actions or attitudes personally. They are not insulting you or the property only attempting to gain the most money in the process. Most businesses operate that way no matter what they claim.

Selling property in a sluggish market can be a disappointing and gut wrenching process but it is often necessary for one reason or another. Unexpected expenses arise and money is needed when it is needed. This is after all why we make these investments in the first place, to be able to handle the unexpected twists and turns that life tosses our way.

Real Estate Investing for the First Timer

You have probably read all the information on the market as it relates to real estate investing and are well aware that many of the world’s millionaires made their fortunes in the real estate market. As a result I’m sure that you feel ready to throw your hat into the ring and begin your own real estate portfolio. There is certainly nothing wrong with this as an investment strategy though there are many wrong ways in which an investor can go about the process.

Flipping properties is my field of experience and a good deal of what will be discussed here will relate to flipping properties though some of the information can be crossed over into rental properties and other types of real estate investment. Even personal property can be a real estate investment. Real estate is one of the few forms of investment in today’s society in which you can actually see the changes as they are occurring.

It is truly amazing to watch a property that was once neglected and in a state of disrepair suddenly spark back to life right before your very eyes. There is a lot of work involved in this process though and this is often overlooked. Much like labor in light of birth. The pains are quickly forgotten when looking into the face of the outcome.

Keep these things in mind for your first time and you should be well on your way to future success. You should also realize that the first few investments are learning experiences more than anything else. If you do not achieve the success you were hoping for (or success to a lesser degree than hoped) you should not give up on the dream all together simply learn from the mistakes you will make along the way as well as the mistakes that others have made.

Real estate investing is not an exact science. There is no formula in this business that guarantees success. Even seasoned professionals will find the occasional bump in the road even on a property for which they had high expectations. Stuff happens along the way that cost money, delay the project, or set the project back. These things are stumbling blocks no doubt but should not be allowed to derail the entire project. When these things happens go back to your original plan, reassess the situation and create a new plan with the necessary adjustments in mind. The key is in sticking to a plan the entire time and never throwing the plan out the window and flying by the seat of your pants.

Your plan will be your lifeline throughout the project. You need to have a plan and a budget in writing. One great rule of thumb is that you set aside double the amount of money you plan for in your budget. This gives you a bit of a safety net for the inevitable things that will go wrong. Things will go wrong on almost every flip you encounter. Even the seasoned professionals that have television shows about their flipping efforts encounter problems in almost every single flip, rehab, or renovation.

For your first few investment purchases it is recommended that you purchase properties that need little more than minor cosmetic repair rather than complete rehabs or renovations. This allows you to get your feet wet without the incredible risk of going off the deep end mentally, emotionally, and financially. These properties represent lower profits but also lower risk. They also allow you to gain valuable experience and raise a little capital in which to invest in properties requiring more extensive work in the future.

Keep your eye on the carrot at the end of the project. Far too many would be property investors give up just before they reach the point of true profitability. The goal is the profit at the end of the project.

Tips For Buying An Overseas Vacation Home

A majority of us have dreamt of owning an overseas home at home point in time. Owning a home overseas represents a different way of life, in a sun drenched tropical location that is teaming with activities and plenty of things to see. For many of us, owning real estate overseas is a dream that we all look forward to at some point in our lives.

If you have been considering buying a home in a foreign land, there are some things you should be aware of. Anytime you decide to buy a home in a far away land, there are traps and pitfalls that you need to be aware of. If you are aware of these pitfalls, you’ll go a long way in securing your home – safely and securely.

If you want to buy overseas real estate for the value, you should always keep in mind that real estate fluctuates – some months the value may go up, while other times it may go down. Not all countries have the same real estate economy, which makes it in your best interest to look into the economy before you buy a home. This way, if you are buying for the value, you’ll know whether or not your purchase will be profitable.

Legal systems are also something you should be aware of as well. Different countries do things differently, which is why you will need to look into the different legal systems before you decide on a property. The last thing you want is to purchase a home and find yourself totally unaware of how the proceedings go in the area you have chosen.

If you are buying your home to make some extra money, such as using it for a vacation or holiday home, you should always pay attention to the accessibility factor. If you plan to visit the home yourself for vacations, you’ll want to make sure that your property is easy to reach. If your property is hard to reach by automobile or plan, it will decrease in value and popularity over time. On the other hand, if your property is easy to access, it will be great for you and anyone else you decide to rent the property out to.

If you want the process to go as smooth as possible, you can always enlist the services of a real estate agent. Even though you may be buying an overseas home, a real estate agent will know the area and he can answer any questions you may have. Chances are that you aren’t familiar with most overseas areas, which makes a qualified real estate agent a very worthy investment. Your agent can also make recommendations based on what you are looking for – and show you the homes that you wouldn’t be able to locate without his services.

Finding A Real Estate Agent

Whenever you buy or sell real estate, you may be like millions of other people out there, in thinking that you don’t need a real estate agent. Most people who buy or sell homes, generally think that a real estate agent is a waste of money. Those who choose to buy a new home, think that real estate agents only add to the cost of purchasing the home.

What most people aren’t aware of, is the fact that real estate agents are normally paid by the seller, not by the buyer. As a buyer, you’ll get to work with a professional real estate agent without really having to pay for it yourself. The policies can vary greatly from state to state and company to company, which is why you should always check any paperwork or contracts that are provided to you to ensure this is the case. When you are interviewing agents, make certain to ask about any type of fees as well.

A lot of real estate agents out there may work with both buyers and sellers, although most specialize in working with either the buyer or the seller. If you are buying a home, make sure that the agent you choose has prior experience of working with buyers and transactions that involve no money down. This way, you can count on your agent to be there when you need him the most – especially if you don’t have a down payment.

If you are interviewing a real estate agent and he or she isn’t familiar with down payment assistance programs, you shouldn’t hire their services. Agents who aren’t familiar with these types of programs generally aren’t on the level, or they may lack the experience necessary to help you purchase the home of your dreams.

You can also make a list of real estate agents that you can interview based on referrals from friends, lenders, and even family. Lender referrals are normally a great choice as most lenders have worked with their recommendations in the past and both are already familiar with each other. Choosing a lenders referral can also prevent you from encountering any obstacles or surprises.

When you interview a real estate agent, make sure that you have the agent explain his fees. This way, you’ll know exactly how much he will be getting from the purchase. You should also find out how much experience he has in the field, and how long he has been working with real estate. You can also ask about sample contracts as well. If you are buying a home, you should make sure that the agent works with buyers. If you happen to be selling your home, then you’ll want to make sure that the agent works with sellers. Agents that are dedicated to one or the other are the best to choose, as they will have more experience than agents who work with both buyers and sellers.

Find a real estate agent is an easy task – providing you know what to look for. If you take things one step at a time and carefully make a decision, chances are that you’ll end up with an agent who has the experience you want. You should always be careful when you choose, and never rush the process. Real estate agents are easy to find, although finding one who fits your needs and has your budget in mind is a little tougher to locate. When you make that final decision, you should always choose an agent who has your best interest in mind – and isn’t just after the money.

Choosing Your Real Estate Appraiser

If you have been thinking about purchasing a real estate property for personal use or as an investment, you’ll need to hire the services of a real estate investor. If you play to finance your home through a bank or other lender, you’ll more than likely need to get the property appraised first. Banks and most lenders want to know the value of the home for your protection, as well as make sure that the home they are financing is worth the total amount that you take on the loan.

In most cases, the appraisal indicates that the home does indeed meet or exceed the asking price. In some cases however, the appraisal will come back saying that the home is worth less than the selling price. If this is the case, the buyer normally has to either drop the deal or try to negotiate with the seller to get a price that meets the appraisal.

For those very reasons, a real estate appraiser is very important. When you are dealing with a home, one appraisal can make a deal or break it. Even though you may not be financing your purchase through a lender or the bank, you should still make an effort to get the home appraised and find out the true value. You should also make a point to find the best appraiser that you can afford. If you hire an appraiser who isn’t that experienced, you’ll pay for it later when you discover that the property isn’t worth what you paid for it.

A real estate appraiser will go through the home performing an evaluation, and then provide you with a written evaluation after he has gathered all necessary information. Appraisers will also taken into consideration the replacement costs as well. Also, they will have to very land descriptions as well. There is a lot of work involved with appraisals, which is why it’s so very important that each step of the process is performed correctly by a qualified real estate appraiser.

If you have a real estate agent, he or she will more than likely be able to make a recommendation. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean the recommendation is the best; it’s just someone who your agent works with. To ensure that you get the right appraisal on your home you’ll need to find yourself an appraiser who is capable of completing the job.

When you look for your real estate appraiser, you should look for someone who comes highly recommended. You can ask family and friends for their opinions, or search local papers, even the Internet. If you take your time and search for the best real estate appraiser that you can find – you’ll normally get an appraisal that is right on target.

Has Television Changed the Face of Real Estate Investing?

If you take a look through the television stations on almost any given day there is a television show somewhere that features home improvement, real estate investing, or some sort of combination of the two. From shows that teach people how to sell homes that have lack luster reviews to shows that teach viewers that it is possible to purchase, repair, and re-sell a home in a matter of weeks for astronomical profits, there are shows that appeal to the entrepreneurial wannabes in audiences around the globe.

These shows have made and lost fortunes a few times over by convincing viewers that they too can do the wondrous things seen on television. The truth is that many viewers are capable of doing these things but television never really shows how hard the work actually may be. The television cameras do not always show the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making these projects successful and rarely mention the countless complete and total failures that occur along the way.

The cameras are also not to keen for showing up at 4 am and rolling well after midnight when the work for the day is finished. It doesn’t catch the heart attacks and nightmares as credit cards are going dangerously close to being completely maxxed out while dreams of quick riches fade right in front of investor’s eyes.

This does not mean that every project is doomed to failure only that things are not always as rosey as they may appear to be on the television shows. Flipping houses may seem to be a bit glamorous and a lot hands on. The problem with that is that too few people really realize how much work goes into the hands on part of the program. This is not easy money no matter how much the television cameras would like to convince you otherwise.

It is very possible to turn a substantial profit in a relatively short amount of time if you keep your cool, use your head, and buy and sell in the right conditions. The problem is that so many people do not consider the big picture and find themselves in over their heads and out of money before the project is anywhere near completion.

One thing that television has definitely done for this line of work is make competition for the flappable houses a little fiercer. The early bird in this business gets the worm and while the cheapest house isn’t always the best candidate the less competition you have driving the prices up, the better in this situation. The goal is to buy low and sell high. Most people do not have a terrible amount of competition, as of yet, on the selling high portion of the program. The real trouble at this point in time lies in the buying low portion as there are many more would be real estate investors that are interested in buying the inexpensive properties than there are that will actually see the projects through from beginning to end.

So yes, television has greatly changed the way people invest in real estate. Whether this is truly good or bad for the overall real estate market remains to be seen. In light of the recent down turns in real estate it is to be expected that some of the popularity may diminish. The sad thing is that this is still one of, if not the best ways to make a large sum of money fairly quickly that is legal in the world today. Fortunes can be made and lost in real estate; the trick is always in placing your bets on the right property at the right time. For those who are willing to take the risks associated with this type of investment in today’s market and those that are willing to wait for a slight upturn in the market the profit potential is phenomenal.

Determine The Listing Price

When it comes to buying a home, most potential buyers will use the listing price to as the number one factor to determine the homes that they look at. Even though you and a realtor may determine the asking price, the buyer will determine the selling price. If the price is too high, most buyers won’t give it a second thought – which is why you want to determine the listing price carefully.

If you set the correct price, you’ll notice a much faster sale. Setting the right listing price will also attract more potential buyers to your property as well. You’ll also notice an increase in response from realtors, and receive more calls about the property. The listing price is very important – and it can ultimately determine whether or not you sale your property.

A home can be overpriced due to several reasons. Overpricing is something you want to avoid, as buyers tend to steer clear of homes that have been overpriced. Normally, this happens when a buyer asks a lot more than the home is worth or valued at. Some buyers ask a lot more than the value of the home due to location. Although the location is very important, most potential buyers won’t give the home a second look if they think the price is too high – and more importantly out of their price range.

When you put your home up for sale, most activity will happen within the first couple of weeks. If you put the right price on your home, you’ll notice immediate interest. There are always buyers looking for homes in their price range, waiting for new homes to be listed or homes to be reduced in price. Buyers who are waiting to purchase may miss seeing your home completely if the price is too high.

To determine the listing price of your home, you should always have it appraised before you put it on the market. This way, you’ll know the full value of your home. You can sell it for market value or go a little under, although you should never attempt to go way over the value. In doing so, you’ll miss out on a lot of potential buyers. The home market is very competitive these days, which is why you want your home to draw as much interest as possible.

Keep in mind that realtors really have no control at all over the real estate market, only the plan behind marketing. Realtors don’t determine the asking price – the seller does. You can ask a realtor for advice, although you are the decider of your listing price. If you do things right and take each thing step by step, you’ll set the listing price in the right area and have no problems selling your property.

Financing with an Interest Only Mortgage

Interest only mortgages are a relatively new phenomenon in the re-financing industry as well as the home buying industry. While the appeal of an interest only mortgage is typically a greater monthly cash flow, this increased cash flow can come with a hefty price tag. In exchange for more cash flow each month, the homeowner may be sacrificing the ability to obtain a fixed rate mortgage as well as the ability to build equity. This article will further examine these features to provide the reader with more information on the subject of interest only mortgages.

Greater Monthly Cash Flow

The one main advantage for many homeowners in an interest only mortgage is the ability to increase monthly cash flow. Homeowners who re-finance by utilizing an interest only mortgage will likely have more money available each month because they will only be paying interest on their mortgage initially. The reduction of the principal payment can make it easier for the homeowner to either afford a larger house or have the ability to live more extravagantly on their budget. However, there is often a significant price to pay for these types of re-financing options.

While interest only loans may not be ideal, they can be beneficial in the situation where the homeowner is having a great deal fulfilling his monthly obligations. In this case, the homeowner may be willing to sacrifice an overall financial loss for the ability to continue to pay monthly bills in a timely fashion.

Unknown Risks of an ARM

Interest only re-finance loans are typically offered with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) this means the interest rate is not fixed and may fluctuate with the rise and fall of the prime index. This risk can be quite costly for the homeowner if the interest rate rises significantly. There is usually a cap placed on the amount, in terms of percentage, the interest rate can rise in a certain period but this can still be a very costly mistake for the homeowners.

An ARM re-finance option with an interest only component may be worthwhile in some situations. For example if the homeowner has a hybrid mortgage which features a fixed interest rate during the interest only portion and an ARM during the principal and interest portion of the loan they might benefit from this situation if they do not plan to stay in the home for longer than the interest only period. This period may vary depending on the lender and the circumstances. Homeowners who plan to sell the house before the interest only period ends and the ARM period begins enjoy the benefits of lower monthly payments and the security of fixed interest rates before they ever have to worry about repaying the principal or dealing with the varying interest rates.

No Equity in the Home

Another disadvantage to the interest only re-finance loans is they do not allow the homeowner to build equity in the home during the initial period where only the interest on the loan is repaid. This can be a problem for homeowners who are looking to profit through the sale of their home. These homeowners may find the participation in an interest only re-finance has had a damaging effect on the profit they are able to generate from the resale of their home.